Top 50+ Web Dubois Quotes


Who is Web Dubois

W E B Du Bois, who was born on the 23rd February 1868 and died on the 27th August 1963, was a sociologist, author and civil rights activist from the United States of America. Du Bois graduated from university and then gained his doctorate, the first African American to do so at Harvard University.

Du Bois started to become a leading figure in the civil rights movement as the leader of the Niagara Movement, campaigning for equal rights, opposing the Atlanta Compromise. It was his belief that black people should have equal rights and far greater political representation, achieving it through the efforts of the intellectual elite, as opposed to the masses. Perhaps his crowning achievement was helping to found the NAACP in 1909, one of the leading groups in civil rights for the next 100 years.

He was a prolific writer and author, publishing essays challenging existing theories and impressions of both the reasons for a lack of rights for African Americans and how to go about changing them. He constantly challenged racism in all forms, including the Jim Crow Laws and used his position as editor of the NAACP journal to publish highly influential and widely viewed articles. His passion for change and thoughts on reform were embodied in the Civil Rights Act, which came into place after his passing.

Web Dubois Quotes

1.A system of education is not one thing, nor does it have a single definite object, nor is it a mere matter of schools. Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men.

2.I believe in Liberty for all men: the space to stretch their arms and their souls, the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends, enjoy the sunshine, and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking, dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of beauty and love.

3.A classic is a book that doesn’t have to be written again.

4.Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men.

5.If there is anybody in this land who thoroughly believes that the meek shall inherit the earth they have not often let their presence be known.

6.The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races.

7.Believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader, and fuller life.

8.An American, a Negro… two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

9.Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself.

10.The power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery?

11.But what of black women?… I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire.

12.Most men today cannot conceive of a freedom that does not involve somebody’s slavery.

13.All men cannot go to college, but some men must; every isolated group or nation must have its yeast, must have, for the talented few, centers of training where men are not so mystified and befuddled by the hard and necessary toil of earning a living as to have no aims higher than their bellies and no God greater than Gold.

14.To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires.

15.To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.

16.Every argument for Negro suffrage is an argument for women’s suffrage.

17.The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.

18.It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.

19.Education must not simply teach work – it must teach Life.

20.School houses do not teach themselves – piles of brick and mortar and machinery do not send out men. It is the trained, living human soul, cultivated and strengthened by long study and thought, that breathes the real breath of life into boys and girls and makes them human, whether they be black or white, Greek, Russian or American.

21.One ever feels his twoness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

22.I believe in God, who made of one blood all nations that on earth do dwell. I believe that all men, black and brown and white, are brothers, varying through time and opportunity, in form and gift and feature, but differing in no essential particular, and alike in soul and the possibility of infinite development.

23.When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books You will be reading meanings.

24.The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.

25.A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.

26.From the very first, it has been the educated and intelligent of the Negro people that have led and elevated the mass, and the sole obstacles that nullified and retarded their efforts were slavery and race prejudice; for what is slavery but the legalized survival of the unfit and the nullification of the work of natural internal leadership?

27.I am an earnest advocate of manual training and trade teaching for black boys, and for white boys, too.

28.I had a happy childhood and acceptance in the community.

29.These are the things of which men think, who live: of their own selves and the dwelling place of their fathers; of their neighbors; of work and service; of rule and reason and women and children; of Beauty and Death and War.

30.For fifteen years, I was a teacher of youth. They were years out of the fullness and bloom of my younger manhood. They were years mingled of half breathless work, of anxious self-questionings, of planning and replanning, of disillusion, or mounting wonder.

31.After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, – a world which yields him no self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.

32.Strange, is it not, my brothers, how often in America those great watchwords of human energy – ‘Be strong!’ ‘Know thyself!’ ‘Hitch your wagon to a star!’ – how often these die away into dim whispers when we face these seething millions of black men? And yet do they not belong to them? Are they not their heritage as well as yours?

33.Education and work are the levers to uplift a people.

34.My autobiography is a digressive illustration and exemplification of what race has meant in the world in the 19th and 20th centuries.

35.I believe in the Prince of Peace. I believe that War is Murder. I believe that armies and navies are at bottom the tinsel and braggadocio of oppression and wrong, and I believe that the wicked conquest of weaker and darker nations by nations whiter and stronger but foreshadows the death of that strength.

36.The ruling of men is the effort to direct the individual actions of many persons toward some end. This end theoretically should be the greatest good of all, but no human group has ever reached this ideal because of ignorance and selfishness.

37.The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line: the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.

38.Capitalism cannot reform itself; it is doomed to self-destruction.

39.The Talented Tenth of the Negro race must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people.

40.All art is propaganda, and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists. I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever art I have for writing has been used always for propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy. I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda.

41.A true and worthy ideal frees and uplifts a people; a false ideal imprisons and lowers.

42.St. Louis sprawls where mighty rivers meet – as broad as Philadelphia, but three stories high instead of two, with wider streets and dirtier atmosphere, over the dull-brown of wide, calm rivers. The city overflows into the valleys of Illinois and lies there, writhing under its grimy cloud.

43.If white people need colleges to furnish teachers, ministers, lawyers, and doctors, do black people need nothing of the sort?

44.If the leading Negro classes cannot assume and bear the uplift of their own proletariat, they are doomed for all time. It is not a case of ethics; it is a plain case of necessity. The method by which this may be done is, first, for the American Negro to achieve a new economic solidarity.

45.I was born free.

46.My great-grandfather fought with the Colonial Army in New England in the American Revolution.

47.I am a Bolshevik.

48.The discovery of personal whiteness among the world’s peoples is a very modern thing – a nineteenth and twentieth century matter, indeed. The ancient world would have laughed at such a distinction.

49.What a world this will be when human possibilities are freed, when we discover each other, when the stranger is no longer the potential criminal and the certain inferior!

50.Progress in human affairs is more often a pull than a push, surging forward of the exceptional man, and the lifting of his duller brethren slowly and painfully to his vantage ground.

51.It is African scholars themselves who will create the ultimate Encyclopaedia Africana.

52.No universal selfishness can bring social good to all. Communism – the effort to give all men what they need and to ask of each the best they can contribute – this is the only way of human life.

53.In the Constitution of the United States, Negroes are referred to as fellows although the word ‘slave’ is carefully avoided before the thirteenth amendment.

54.Negroes could be sold – actually sold as we sell cattle, with no reference to calves or bulls or recognition of family. It was a nasty business. The white South was properly ashamed of it and continually belittled and almost denied it. But it was a stark and bitter fact.

55.There was not a single Negro slave owner who did not know dozens of Negroes just as capable of learning and efficiency as the mass of poor white people around and about, and some quite as capable as the average slaveholder. They had continually, in the course of the history of slavery, recognized such men.
56.How hard a thing is life to the lowly, and yet how human and real!

57.As a race, the Negroes are not lazy.

58.For most people, it is enough for the world to know that they aspire. The world does not ask what their aspirations are, trusting that those aspirations are for the best and greatest things. But with regard to the Negroes in America, there is a feeling that their aspirations in some way are not consistent with the great ideals.

59.Education is the development of power and ideal.

60.The use of slave women as day workers naturally broke up or made impossible the normal Negro home, and this and the slave code led to a development of which the South was really ashamed and which it often denied, and yet perfectly evident: the raising of slaves in the Border slave states for systematic sale on the commercialized cotton plantations.


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